Today’s consumer is more educated than ever before. According to Internetlivestats, 3.5 Billion searches happen on Google every day!
This means that regardless of what you are selling, your target audience is searching for your products or services on search engines such as Google.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a strategy for improving your website’s rankings in search engine results. It involves identifying which keywords and phrases your target audience uses when looking for products or services like yours, and then trying to optimize your webpage’s rank for those searches.
In short, SEO is the process of optimizing your website to capture more traffic.
If you’re reading this article, you probably understand that you need to focus on SEO.
In this blog post I’ll answer some basic questions about SEO and why you should include it in your marketing strategy.
- Does my business need to be doing SEO?
Would you like more traffic from your website? If the answer is yes, then your business should be investing in SEO. Search engine optimization offers a way to increase traffic without paying for every click as you do with pay-per-click advertising. Even if you rank Number 1 for some keywords already on the search engine results pages (SERPs), investing in strong SEO is a great way to defend your castle from competitors.
2. How much does SEO cost?
Costs for an SEO agency to work on your website vary greatly. Some plans start as low as $99 and up. Many enterprise and full-service plans cost thousands of dollars a month.
SEO agencies typically structure their SEO billing as hourly, project-based or retainer-based models. Read more about how much SEO costs here.
3. How much time do I need to invest each month?
In order to improve your website’s SEO, you will need to put in time and effort. Some small-business owners can get away with putting in several hours per week when first starting out and then leveling out to about an hour a week or less. Many large businesses have a full-time SEO expert on staff or work with a third-party to perform SEO work.
In any case, SEO is not something you can just set and forget. It takes continuous effort to defend your page rankings from competitors.
4. How long will it take to see results?
People committing to SEO best practices can usually expect to see results within the first two months. Factors such as the size and age of your website, your business’s industry and competition will also affect results.
Remember that rankings and traffic are positively correlated. As your SERP placements improve, you will see more traffic.
5. Should I be doing Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising in addition to SEO?
PPC should be thought of as a short-term or complementary strategy to SEO. You will see results right away; however you will have to pay in perpetuity to keep those results.
Conversely, SEO is a long-term strategy, where you will invest upfront, however you will reap the benefits of said investment in a cost-effective manner for a long time to come.
Running a PPC campaign while you are getting your SEO off the ground can be a great strategy to ensure you have traffic now, and into the future. PPC campaigns can also allow you to test new offers more quickly and determine which to focus on, on your website.
6. How Long will I need to do SEO?
Effective SEO takes some heavy lifting in the first month or two of starting to focus on SEO. Much of this work will include, updating the metadata of your pages, reorganizing your website structure, enacting an external link building campaign and optimizing on website technicals such as page load speed and core web vitals
After completing the initial work, keep going! SEO is not something that can be done once and never again. The digital landscape is always changing. For example, new competitors can arise or the search engine algorithms change. Your business also continues to evolve, which may mean you want to include additional service lines or products or include different messaging.
So, after the initial heavy lifting, expect to continue to spend a few hours per month (If you’re a small business) ensuring your website is hitting the right searches.
7. Does it make sense to rank for short- or long-tail keywords?
Short-tail keywords are simple phrases containing three or fewer words. Examples include “Lawyer,” or “Best Pizza.” Short-tail keywords tend to have higher search volume but lower purchase intent.
Long-Tail Keywords are phrases containing more than three words. Examples include, “Auto accident injury lawyer in Denver,” or “Best thin crust pizza restaurant with delivery.” Long-tail keywords have a lower search volume but much higher purchase intent.
In most cases we recommend targeting long tail keywords. While short tail keywords have a large search volume, they are incredibly competitive, meaning ranking is a steep uphill battle. And if you are fortunate enough to rank, you would find that your conversion rate for short tail keywords is much lower than with long tail keywords. Searchers with high purchase intent tend to use long tail keywords because they know what they want.
Think about it using the examples from above. If you’re a NY style pizza shop, which keyword would you rather rank for: “Best Pizza,” or “Best thin crust pizza restaurant with delivery?” Of course, the latter. Anyone who types the second phrase into a search bar is obviously looking to get some hot NY-style pizza as fast as possible. The first phrase could take you to a million different places. Long-tail keywords typically take you farther along the road to conversion.
8. What search engines do people use most?
You probably guessed. Google is the dominant player in the search engine Industry. They have an 86% market share of all searches, according to Statista. Bing comes in second with 6.7% of searches. Most of the optimizing you do should focus on Google. Luckily, Google offers a lot of tools to help SEO experts such as:
9. Should I hire someone to do SEO for me, or should I do it myself?
It depends on many factors such as your desire, budget, time commitment, and level of control.
If you have the time and desire, but are on a tight budget, a self-service SEO service such as softserveSEO may be the perfect fit for you.
If you are looking for more of an enterprise solution of have a larger budget, partnering with an SEO agency could be a better option.
10. I don’t know anything about SEO. Where should I begin?
An educational service such softserveSEO is a great place to begin. We offer a variety of plans that help educate those just getting started with SEO.
softserveSEO not only includes the tools to optimize your website, but it also provides fun and easy-to-follow tutorials. You will learn the steps needed to properly optimize your website in easy-to-follow textual and video formats.
Even if you aren’t ready to take the leap into a paid plan, keep reading the softserveSEO blog, as we update it with new content weekly. If there is a topic you would like to see in a future blog post, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Optimizing your website can seem intimidating. However, with the right tools, support, and patience, you’ll see results that make all the work worthwhile.
SEO can boost your online visibility, help you earn more traffic, and even boost your credibility.
Furthermore, SEO is a great way improve the overall experience your target audience has with your brand. When you create accessible and easy to read content on a user-friendly site, you position your company as a helpful resource.
If you’re still on the fence about the need for SEO, the answer is clear: No matter what industry you’re in, effective SEO is important for any website.